The Gospel of Luke is the longest Gospel of the four, and is the only Gospel with a sequel.
The Gospel of Luke is most likely written in the early 60s, and is a very good Gospel for Gentile converts to recognize their legitimacy in the covenant community of Believers.
The purpose in looking at one of the Gospels is to have both a historical and theological understanding of who Christ is and what it means to belong to him.
One of the greatest problems that any Christian could face is lack of knowledge of Jesus Christ and lack of information about him.
In that void of lack of information, people will supply information about Christ. And the danger is that youth could supply information about Christ.
And create a Jesus that fits what we want him to be rather than who he actually is. We can get pictures of Jesus in all of the Bible, but there are specific things about Jesus in the Gospels that are helpful for knowing who he is by looking at what he did.
We’re going through the Gospel of Luke, primarily because Luke writes to a Gentile audience. The other Gospels have lots of Jewish concepts that require a deeper study of the OT.
Whereas Luke, did a lot of explaining of OT concepts for us and enables us to not have to do as much intense study of OT ideas to understand things about Jesus.
It’s almost like Luke did a lot translational work for us, by the power of the Holy Spirit, so that we can focus primarily on who Jesus is, and what it means to be His follower.
Now the purpose of our text this evening is that Jesus Christ is the Lord of the Old Testament, and that Lord needs a herald. And he is coming to save his people.
In other words, Luke is telling us about how significant the coming of Jesus is.
And in order to show us how significant Jesus’ coming is, Luke informs us of four things:
1). The surety of Luke’s account
This might be an often overlooked part of the Gospel, but this is more than just an introduction. Luke is explaining something to someone about what he wrote.
He explains that what he’s done is take pain staking effort to put together a single, authoritative account of life of Jesus Christ.
He says in verse 1 that something has been accomplished or fulfilled among Luke and the recipient of the letter.
So Luke, according to verse 3, spent a lot of time and effort examining the facts of Jesus’ life and putting them together into this book.
He writes to Theophilus. Probably a real specific person, named Theophilus. Could’ve been a pagan name originally, but as it is now, he’s someone either who is a Christian, wants to be a Christian or could be a high ranking official wanting to know about Christianity.
It’s interesting because Luke is probably with Paul all the way to his execution in the 60’s AD in Rome. So it could’ve even been that Luke was enlisted as a scribe / historian to explain what’s going on with guys like Paul and others preaching about a this new religion.
At any rate, this guy Theophilus is need of Christian education about Jesus Christ and Luke is the man to inform him.
Luke picks sources that are very good sources. He picks what we call primary sources. Those who were eye witnesses to Christ. Luke was not an eye witness to Jesus Christ.
But he effectively interviewed those who were eye witnesses to Jesus. He also gathered probably written material, maybe first hand documentation. He probably even had Mark’s Gospel, which is typically dated before Luke.
And his whole purpose is listed in verse 4.
“that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.” (, ESV)
That’s the whole point of us going through the Gospel of Luke. The idea of have certainty is to know with safety.
It’s like sitting down for a midterm or a final, some really big test. And you know what it’s like when you don’t know the answers, when you’re not prepared for that test.
It’s nerve racking.
But when you’ve studied and you see each question and you know each answer you know you’re good to go.
That’s the whole point of what Luke is trying to do in writing these inspired words of the Holy Spirit. He wants you to know about Christ with immovable certainty.
God didn’t leave us trying to figure out about Christ, he left us with an account of Jesus, written in such a way that we can reassure ourselves that we have true information about Jesus Christ.
2). The service of those waiting for Christ
Now keep in mind, most Jews were waiting for the deliverance that Yahweh of the OT would provide. They were waiting for God himself to intervene and especially to deal with the situation they were experiencing with the Romans.
They were under Roman rule and dominion. They were hoping for a time when they would be freed from that.
But definitely there were some Jews who had a greater understanding of what they were going to be delivered from. They weren’t only or really even at all interested in social justice, deliverance from the Romans.
They were interested in deliverance from their sins. So we have two individuals, Elizabeth and Zechariah.
Zechariah is of an order of Priests named after Abiyah (Yahweh is my father). Abiyah is a direct ancestor to Jesus. Elizabeth is in the line of Aaron. Both of these individuals are of priestly descent.
And it’s Zechariah’s turn to perform priestly duties.
But it’s incredible, because both of these individuals were righteous and walked blameless in the law of God.
Their concern was religious. They were concerned about their lifestyle and their behavior before God.
This probably is genuine given the fact that they were both chosen to be the parents of John the Baptist.
And they don’t have any children. Probably they tried, couldn’t have children, until finally Elizabeth was past child bearing age.
But the ultimate purpose was the God was saving her for the time when she would have John the Baptist as a son.
“for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”” (, ESV)
It’s important to see the parallel between John’s parents and which is before quoted in verse 17. is God saying to remember basically his statutes and rules.
And in , that’s what Zechariah and Elizabeth were doing.
Now, the idea of John the Baptist coming in the spirit and power of Elijah is that John fulfills OT prophecy about God sending Elijah to restore God’s people.
John the Baptist is the new Elijah, fulfilling OT prophecy about God having his herald announce his arrival to accomplish salvation.
OT prophecy is being fulfilled here. Make ready for the Lord a people who is prepared.
And this fulfillment is announced by an angel of the Lord, Gabriel.
Two very important and key elements here.
1). The sending of John accomplishes the changing of hearts.
2). And to make ready the prepared people.
This is going to be significant for a Gentile audience to recognize that the announcement of John, heralding the coming of Christ, changes the hearts of a people, to make them ready, to receive Christ, whom they’ve already been prepared for.
The reason why this is significant is because the OT seems to indicate prophecies for Israel. And yet prophecies concerning Isreal, include as their fulfillment Gentile believers.
3). The seriousness of the Gospel
A good priest, like Zechariah, blameless in the law of God, probably familiar with Abraham and Sarah, has an angel of the Lord announcing his child’s birth,
Should’ve have known that this was possible for his barren wife to give birth a prophet.
18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.”
And Gabriel’s response,
19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.
20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.”
This is serious Gospel. Verse 19, “I was sent to speak to you and to bring the Gospel to you”.
But it’s significant because it shows a Jew, who’s heart has not been prepared yet even by his own son to receive the King, Jesus Christ.
This seriousness is also something that is important. Because Gabriel didn’t need to show or prove anything to Zechariah. This is going to happen and Zechariah is disciplined into getting on board with it.
Gabriel knows that God is going to accomplish his purpose, Gabriel was in the throne room of God commissioned by God to go and announce this.
Now keep in mind, Luke compiled eye witness testimony, probably orally and in written form. People knew, multiple witnesses knew, that Zechariah was mute after he served in the Temple and that his barren wife gave birth to a son who became super popular among the people, John the Baptist.
And there’s incredible issues with this. He didn’t believe Gabriel, though he saw with his eyes that an angel next to the alter of incense was talking to him.
Which means that it’s not about us needing to see what happened but it’s about us needing to believe that it happened.
And that without believing the Gospel that Gabriel announced, then there is consequences that we will experience.
Sight isn’t essential to salvation, having a changed heart, being made ready and having been prepared are.
4). The salvation of God’s people
24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying,
25 “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”
It’s interesting because she basically quotes
23 She conceived and bore a son and said, “God has taken away my reproach.”
God remembered Rachel, and God opened her womb, and God gave her a son, Joseph. And Joseph ends up going to a Gentile nation of Egypt.
Which in turn brings about the salvation of the Jews who were in a famine.
What really is relieving about this announcement is you notice that there’s so much that is listed about what God is going to do. He invades the lives of these parents.
He has already prepared us to receive Christ, he sent John to turn the hearts of his people to be made ready to receive Jesus.
So far the Gospel story of Jesus Christ is the longtime planned invasion of Jesus into our lives to dramatically change them for the better.
This is the sure fire execution of the plan of God to save His people coming to a point of fulfillment.
He intends to glorify Himself, in your salvation, which is your greatest good. And even in the midst of Zechariah’s unbelief, God chastises him into believing.
Isn’t it an incredible testimony to the fact that not even moments of doubt are capable of thwarting God’s sovereign plan to save.
And the refreshing news of salvation is like a woman who could never have a child finding out that she can have a child. If you’ve ever known that experience you know how refreshing and soul satisfying it is then to know you have salvation.
Which is an incredible picture for the Gentile. It illustrates how seemingly impossible it would be for salvation to go to the Gentiles, so that they rejoice when they receive it.
And unfortunately it was a cultural thing that women who couldn’t bear children were looked down upon.
Gentiles were looked down upon by the Jews. And instead God’s sovereign plan was to include the Gentiles in salvation, and for them to reproduce Christian children.